Virginia & Truckee Locomotive No. 22 – Inyo

Featured Exhibit|Permanent Gallery|

The Inyo holds the noble distinction of being one of the oldest original operating steam locomotives in North America.

During the 19th Century the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, as well as many other railroads, named their locomotives. “Inyo” is an Indian word that means “dwelling place of a great spirit.” V&T locomotive No. 22, Inyo, was built in 1875 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at a cost of $9,065. The Inyo is a 4-4-0 type locomotive, commonly referred to as an American Standard.

No. 22 worked initially as the Gold Hill switch engine. During the 1870s, the V&T and Central Pacific operated the Lightning Express between Virginia City and San Francisco. A through service Silver Palace Sleeping Car was used as far as Carson City and passengers were able to travel in comfort. Later, the Inyo usually hauled passenger trains or mixed consists. In the 1890s it regularly pulled the passenger train between Reno and Virginia City.

The Inyo was infrequently used on the V&T during the 1930s. Paramount Pictures purchased the locomotive in 1937 for movie service in High, Wide and Handsome. No. 22 also served in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic, Union Pacific. Subsequently, the locomotive was used in more than a dozen motion pictures over the years. But her last role was a stationary one. She played the part of the Central Pacific’s Jupiter at the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah. The State of Nevada purchased the Inyo in 1974. In 1978, it was moved to Carson City for restoration.

The Inyo was restored to circa 1893 and operated at Expo86 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and at the California State Railroad Museum’s Railfair ’91 in Sacramento. The Inyo operates at the Nevada State Railroad Museum during special occasions. It originally operated with a boiler pressure of 130 P S I and was reported to have run straight stretches at 60 miles per hour.

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